Revealed: 222 East 81st Street

222 East 81st Street, rendering by Isaac & Stern222 East 81st Street, rendering by Isaac & Stern

New York City has been undergoing somewhat of a pre-war revival in recent years. While there’s no shortage of new glassy fishbowls, they’re now being joined by historicist structures with stone façades, perhaps sparked by the success of Robert A.M. Stern’s limestone-faced 15 Central Park West.

But beyond the ranks of the 15 CPWs of the city (which will soon include 30 Park Place downtown, another Bob Stern creation) lies a class of buildings that not only use pre-war features, but genuinely emulate the architecture of the early 20th century.

Ralph Lauren’s store at 888 Madison Avenue is perhaps the best example of a new structure that manages to completely disguise itself as a pre-war, and 135 East 79th Street also offers an attractive and purist take on the time period that defined the last golden age of Gotham City.

And they’ll soon be joined by 222 East 81st Street, a six-story faux pre-war building under construction on the Upper East Side. An architectural historian may note that in the past, nobody would’ve built such an elaborate mansion between Second and Third Avenues. But for the rest of us, the building should look as if it’s been there for generations, and in many ways, will be more faithful to pre-war styles than the likes of 15 CPW or 30 Park Place.

222 East 81st Street, rendering by Isaac & Stern

222 East 81st Street, rendering by Isaac & Stern

Interestingly for such a high-end project, the building will be rentals – perhaps some of the most luxurious in the city, and certainly on the Upper East Side. The bottom will be a 4,000-square foot triplex with access to the garage, and two 3,100-square foot units will occupy the upper levels.

The developer is Icon Realty, and the architect is Isaac & Stern (they’ve also collaborated together on two other convincingly pre-war buildings in New York City). Construction should wrap up by the end of the year.

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